Laini Taylor is a very popular American young adult and adult fantasy writer. The writer is best known for Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and the first book titled the same was chosen by Amazon as the Best Teen Book of 2011. There are talks about an upcoming film as well.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone takes place in couple of locations, but mostly Prague and Marrakesh. It is about an orphaned girl – art student Karou – who shows an incredible talent and tries to avoid an annoying ex-boyfriend. At least that is what others see from the outside.
Karou also happens to run errands for a mysterious magical creature, who raised her as his own child, although he never really let her into on the secrets of his magic or her parents. The girl visits all sorts of mystical places around the world through magical doors. But what happens if there comes a time, when she isn’t able to get through? What if the doors are not there anymore?
It is very hard to describe this book, it seemed like a mixture of Twilight, Chronicles of Narnia and some more fantasy. It had a little bit from everything and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.
I thought that the main character was alright, but I didn’t have any strong connection with her. She was sharp, smart, strong, but at the same time not too invincible. The character I really wanted to know more about was Brimstone. He is a classic father figure, who doesn’t let any secrets out and sits in his little ‘office’ being grumpy,. Yet I really liked him and would like to know more about the character, his feelings, thoughts and history. And he is a big reason why I want to read the next book rather sooner than later – not the plot development, but Brimstone. I hope that the author will not disappoint in that regard.
The writing… I actually don’t remember, if I noticed any particularly peculiar things that I thought should be mentioned. But the chapters seemed a bit ‘jumpy’ – meaning that a scene would jump from a fight to a romance that would drag for a couple of pages (and in my opinion that is already too much) and then turn to some drama or jokes. It was confusing and I didn’t really like that.
I have never been to Czech Republic (Actually… I might be wrong – I think I’ve been there once), but what I most enjoyed was Morocco. I’m going to Morocco in about a week, so all the descriptions of souks and people, peppermint tea and sweets was familiar, because I’ve already done a lot of research about the trip, the place and what to see and do. And this book was a bit like an intro to my trip, which seems a bit of a shame. It would have been so cool, if I would have read it on the plane and then realised that it partially takes place in the place I’m going to! Anyway, those parts were especially alive in my imagination, because of that bit of fresh extra information in my mind.
Overall I really don’t know at all if I liked it or not, it almost seems like maybe I thought it’s a ‘meh’ book, but with some surprises and good intriguing aspects. I haven’t made the decision, so if you have any comments on that, please let me know, it might help me to shift in one or the other direction, because I don’t want to start on the next book, before I fully form an opinion about the current one.
So the novel was confusing. I am not entirely sure, if I liked it or not, but I know that I will read the next one, because I want to know, if my predictions will be correct and I also want a bit more of Brimstone – the most magical and secretive of all the creatures in the book.
This book received three stars from me on my goodreads page and I think it might be a good introduction for teenage girls into the fantasy genre.
Oh and I think that I have to mention that this book taught me something. I even liked a quote from it, which I am not sure, if people who haven’t read the book would really understand, but… yes, that made me put down the book and think about the good and the bad, the true and the false.